Patterico's Pontifications


L.A. Times Article on Pledge to America Filled with Terrible Writing and Worse Analysis

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 8:50 pm

I sat down ready to criticize the content of this L.A. Times article about the Contract with America, or Pledge for America, or whatever they’re calling the latest retread of 1994. And I still am ready — but I keep getting sidetracked by the horrible writing and editing.

Drawing on ideas favored by conservatives and stoked by “tea party” activists, House Republicans on Thursday will unveil a governing manifesto that calls for cuts in government spending, repeal of the new health care measure and a strict Constitutional test for every proposed law, according to a draft.

I deny that the Pledge’s ideas were “stoked” by the Tea Partiers — or that the Tea Partiers were stoked by the Pledge’s ideas. Dude.

The 21-page blueprint, called “A Pledge To America,” offers the most detailed picture yet of how Republicans would address national issues if they win a majority in the House this November, a likelihood prognosticators say is increasingly likely.

It’s always good when likelihoods are likely. Especially when the likelihood is increasingly likely.

The GOP plan quickly ignited a debate within conservative circles, as establishment Republicans embraced the agenda but activists complained that it did not go far enough, while omitting some of their key demands, such as a balanced budget amendment.

Never mind a balanced budget amendment. How about a goal of spending less than Bush?

You know, maybe the Tea Partiers’ ideas were stoked — if by “stoked” you mean sent up in flames.

The plan treads lightly on hot-button social issues, such as marriage and abortion, that have been mainstays of past GOP agendas but are less likely to motivate independent voters than economic questions this fall.

Hot-button social issues to plan: Don’t Tread on Me! Or, at least tread lightly on me.

My God, this is horrible writing. Another example: “less likely to motivate independent voters than economic questions this fall.” For some reason I feel like Ann Althouse saying this — but guys, it’s: “less likely than economic questions to motivate independent voters this fall.” You switched the phrases around, L.A. Times language experts, making your point very muddy. Were you trying to say economic questions are getting motivated? No? Then time for a rewrite. Skipping ahead a bit:

The proposals, the president said, mask the Republican Party’s intent to return to “exact same agenda” they pursued under former President George W. Bush’s administration.

Dontcha mean return to the exact same agenda?? Are we just randomly tossing articles overboard along with common sense?

“Like a diet full of sugar, it will actually do nothing but keep making Washington fatter before we crash from the sugar high,” said Erik Erikson of the blog RedState.

Or, Erick Erickson, if you’re into correct spelling and such.

I give up. This paper apparently can no longer afford copy editors. Nor can they afford analysts who can tell the difference between the pledge writers and the people who actually want to do something about the size of (and the debt incurred by) the federal government.

Better writers and thinkers, please!

28 Responses to “L.A. Times Article on Pledge to America Filled with Terrible Writing and Worse Analysis”

  1. Oops: The long-expected plan will be released Thursday plan following a roundtable at a family-owned business in Sterling, Va.

    Dana (8ba2fb)

  2. I offer my services to the Times as proofreader/editor. I’ll be available after my current job ends on Monday.

    aunursa (dd38d2)

  3. Stoked about the likely likelihoods, dude! This sounds like it was air-guitar-written by by the Wyld Stallyns of “Bill & Ted” fame.


    Mitch (e40959)

  4. The “stoked” should be filed under the bad editing department, too. Let me rewrite it for clarity:

    House Republicans, drawing on conservative ideas and responding to [motivated by] the Tea Party movement, will unveil unveil on Thursday a governing manifesto that, according to a draft, calls for, etc. etc.

    I buy the local paper only on Sundays. That’s the day they have the weekly TV section, the coupons and the comics in color.

    kishnevi (c89e0a)

  5. It’s amazing how many say this pledge is a repudiation of the Tea Party (Frum), and some say it’s their stoking (lol).

    I’m amazed at how bad this is. While they have been fairly careful to keep Steele’s name off it, this is what he’s been up to lately.

    It’s awful.

    The reason they don’t promise to cut spending to below Bush’s levels is because of the Veto pen. However, they should set that as their goal and fight the good fight anyway.

    How is Chris Christie (Mark Levin’s latest target, BTW) not showing these Republicans that voters LOVE conservatives who stand up for their ideas.

    There’s a major political benefit in acting like you believe your own principles. They made a mess because they tried too hard to beat the Contract with America.

    I guess it’s not like anyone was expecting the 2011 or 2012 budgets to be balanced anyway. We’re just electing some hearings and speed bumps on the democrats.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  6. Pity the writer and editor – maybe there weren’t no RIF in their neighborhood?

    Adjoran (ec6a4b)

  7. Patterico:

    Some of these Dog-Trainer passages sound like the newspaper headlines I love to collect. Two recent additions to my list:

    Wyoming Body May Be Missing Utah Woman (“Lonely, I’m Mr. Lonely…”)

    Tajikistan Says Militants Were Behind Attack on Troops (No — really?)


    Dafydd the Conversation Hijacker (632d00)

  8. Man, it’s almost worth shelling out 75 cents (or whatever they charge nowadays) to see how much of this bad writing actually makes it on to the printed page. I’ll have to lurk at Starbucks to find someone’s discarded copy of tomorrow’s paper, I guess.

    JVW (eccfd6)

  9. After reading this post, the likelihood that I will read the LA Times article which you linked suddenly became considerably less likely.

    daleyrocks (940075)

  10. What is the term? “Lunch-box reporters”? Wet-behind-the-ears kids stepping — unprepared — into the big time.

    Icy Texan (214dbb)

  11. The GOP plan quickly ignited a debate within conservative circles, as establishment Republicans embraced the agenda but activists complained that it did not go far enough, while omitting some of their key demands, such as a balanced budget amendment.

    Never mind a balanced budget amendment. How about a goal of spending less than Bush?

    When the Democrats took control of Congress the deficit was about $161 billion. The deficit is more than that in a month right now. And I think that actually cutting spending will be difficult, because I think a lot of the people who want it cut are talking about other people making the sacrifice. I remember all those folks at those townhalls screaming Leave my Medicare alone

    That does not mean it can’t be done, but if you can get spending back to where it was a couple of years ago that in and of itself would be a real accomplishment…and then come the reforms, but there is no point in laying out a lot of detail about what sort of reform in a Pledge like the one the GOP came up with here.

    Terrye (2e6779)

  12. This is why we need real radical (in terms of getting to the root of the issue) Paul, Angle,
    and well, the one you folks have been beating up
    for the last two weeks. This very weak (oolong?)
    tea, is a joke.

    ian cormac (6709ab)

  13. Remember, what makes the traditional media much, much more respectable than things like blogs is the fact that they have editors to make sure they put out a quality piece all around.

    (yes, I am being sarcastic.)

    > How about a goal of spending less than Bush?

    You at this point, spending only twice as much as Bush would be an improvement. Why do I feel like that is closer to their actual goals than actually reducing the debt? Sigh.

    Obviously there are worse things than republican rule. But I wish we could do better.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  14. slightly off topic, but allegedly pjtv has a poll showing that about 30% of black people… support the tea party.

    i get the feeling that all the charges of racism led open minded people to look into the tea party and pretty quickly they realized they actually liked what they heard. unless this poll is screwed up somehow.

    Here’s the link:

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  15. The likelihood that the LA Times will turn itself out of its death spiral is increasingly less likely, a likelihood which is increasingly stoked its conservative critics. More likely is the likelhood that the LA Times will exact same problems it has today, with declining revenue undermining Marry Meletron’s efforts to reform the once storied newspaper.

    This likelihood has increasingly split the journolist community into separate splits. Ezra Kline, a non-partisan analyst at the JournoList institute, was increasingly not stoked about this development, while far right media critic Mikey Kous gloated over the likely increasingly likelihood of the demise of the paper.

    Sean P (a82c1f)

  16. Well, they didn’t call us racists, or bitter clingery killbots, so that is an improvement.

    JD (4a3b1f)

  17. **How about a goal of spending less than Bush?**

    Or even just less than the Bush second term? Or no more than the first two years of the second Bush term? Those would still be major improvements over the current set of affairs, wherein Congress and the admin are making drunken sailors everywhere look downright penurious.

    Tully (62151d)

  18. Wait a minute, Tully. We have a commenter who was a sailor and would get drunk and he told us that he spent his own money and stopped spending when he went broke. 😉

    nk (db4a41)

  19. Sorry. “Wait a minute, Tully” should have been “Right on, Tully”.

    nk (db4a41)

  20. Sean P.,
    The likelihood of your having a career waiting at the storied LA Times is increasingly likely.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (fb9e90)

  21. We laugh about these unforced errors at work, imagining the laid off copy editors smiling wickedly over their morning edition and their whiskey.

    A bigger question is, when will this damnable newspaper finally die? This is surely the longest death spiral in history.

    Patricia (9c62d9)

  22. My parrot is still dead, and I still don’t subscribe to the LA Times. They could hire my 13year old granddaughter and improve the quality of their writing.

    BarSinister (a213bc)

  23. Patricia, daily circulation at the LA Times was 1.2 million in 1997. It’s barely over 600,000 today. We’re halfway there already.

    Sean P (4fde41)

  24. You know I want a balanced budget as much as anyone, but rolling back to pre-TARP spending is a good start. Politics is the art of the possible and the GOP leadership know that the American public will not stand for any further reductions.

    Crusader (1eb4f7)

  25. #20; I appreciate the compliment, but if I were looking for work, I’d probably hold out for a position with a little more job security. Like a temp.

    Sean P (4fde41)

  26. You people are being way too critical. Give credit that at least the Trainer reporters have not yet started writing copy for publication in texting language. (Experts urge U 2 C ur Dr if you have headaches. K?) Although fewer letters would take up less space in a line and could save on newsprint—-hmmmm.

    elissa (7f9ac5)

  27. Not lunchbox, I think it was “juicebox mafia” for a gang of kiddie pundits, etc. An Algonquin Round Table with booster chairs.

    nekulturny (b88a83)

  28. вчера тоже самое читал

    Mezahny (f7c1ec)

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